Our first stop in Norway was Stavanger. It was a busy day in port as there were 3 other large ships in port along with is and unfortunately it was also a national holiday so almost all the stores and restaurants were closed. The Stavanger region has many scenic attractions, among them the Lysefjord, Sola beach and the world famous Preikestolen (“the Pulpit Rock”). Some of the excursion options were a helicopter ride to the pulpit rock, a bus and then hike up to the pulpit rock, or a fjord cruise either on a rib boat or a large ferry type boat that would go by the pulpit rock. We hadn't booked an excursion ahead of time but the weather was so perfect that we couldn't resist a boat ride down to see the Pulpit Rock. We bought a ticket from a local company and it was a nice ride with lots to see and plenty of sunshine too. Stavanger is a very walkable city with lots of shops and things to see all very close to the port.
Our second stop was the tiny town of Flam which has just about 400 residents. Flåm, is situated innermost in the Aurlandsfjord and is home of the Flåm Railway. It is a very popular attraction and I had read it can sell out in advance. I had checked and saw that there would be another very large ship in port at the same time as us so I decided to book the ship excursion in advance that included a reserved car for the train ride up and then a hike back down part of the way. We did have to tender into this port but it wasn't too bad. When you get off the tender you cannot miss the train station as it is really steps away. We met up with our tour group which was a very nice size of just 14 guests with 2 guides. We boarded our reserved car on the train and had plenty of space to move around which was nice since there were amazing views all around. One tip I would give for anyone riding the Flam railway would be to choose a seat at either end of a car since they have windows that can open and you can get better photos. It was interesting to learn that instead of building bridges over the water that flows down the mountain they instead re-routed the water so that went around the tracks. There were amazing waterfalls and other beautiful scenery all around. The train made a stop at a very impressive waterfall where we could all get off the train and take photos. At the stop where our group got off there was a hotel nearby that we went into and had a snack and a drink before making our 6 mile hike down the mountain. Luckily the weather was perfect again and we had a very enjoyable hike. Our journey out of Flam included going back up the Sognefjord which was breathtaking. The fjords are UNESCO World Heritage Landscape. The further north we go the later the sun stays out. Tonight it was almost midnight before it was dark and the sun was due to rise around 4:15 am.
Our third stop was Alesund. Ålesund is a port town on the west coast of Norway, at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord. It’s known for the art nouveau architectural style in which most of the town was rebuilt after a fire in 1904 that destroyed almost every building. We hadn't planned anything in advance today so we thought we would just see what the day brings. In Flam we saw a little electric car that looked like ti would be fun. When getting off in Alesund we saw them again and thought let's try it out. The 2 seater electric car had gps and a tour loaded that talked to us as we drove around town. The nice part we wanted to get to the top of the look oup point which would have been a 400 stair climb and after yesterday's hike my legs were not really feeling like doing that many stairs. With the little car we drove right up and were able to get out and check out the amazing view of the whole town. We also explored more and got to see a lot. It was another perfect weather day so knock on wood the weather stays with us!
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